Some people believe trees grow on their own without any outside assistance. To a certain extent, that’s true. But as with any living creature, there are things a tree requires in order to maintain its health.
Just as humans need oxygen, water, and food to survive. Likewise, a tree needs the sun and nourishment to thrive. In addition to these essentials, trees also need to be regularly cared for to ensure they maintain their integrity and do not become a hazard lurking in your yard.
Did you know that a tree must be regularly trimmed and pruned? Mr. Tree offers pruning and tree trimming services, in addition to other types of maintenance. If you live outside our service area, however, you may need to find another skilled arborist to care for your tree. If that’s the case, there are a few things to avoid when it comes to tree trimming.
Avoid Doing it Yourself
We’re sorry to disappoint, but we don’t subscribe to do-it-yourself tree care. In fact, you should never attempt to perform tree work yourself as it’s a dangerous job that requires specialized skills and expertise. Don’t believe us? Just look here, here, and here for a few recent examples of tree trimming incidents that turned fatal. Tree trimming is a dangerous job and should not be performed as a DIY project.
Don’t Hire Just Anyone
Tree trimming isn’t simply a dangerous task for the average layperson. It’s a dangerous task for everyone. That’s why you should do your due diligence and only hire certain companies to perform the work. So, what are some things you should look for?
The first thing you should do is make sure the arborist you hire is certified and insured. Request a copy of the company’s insurance policy to make sure that it is current. You should also confirm that each arborist who works for the company is certified or a member of a reputable institution. Ask what type of safety gear the arborists use and inquire about their safety procedures. You should also ask for client references so that you can be confident in your decision before hiring that company.
Do Not Top the Tree
What exactly is tree topping? It’s a method of removing large branches at the top of a tree to reduce the tree’s canopy. Many homeowners engage in tree topping because of mistakenly held beliefs. Some homeowners believe, for instance, that topping a tree will make it smaller, more manageable, and even healthier. However, the very opposite is true. Topping a tree leads to large, open wounds that make your tree more susceptible to pest infestation, disease, and damage. Topping a tree could also encourage the growth of weaker branches. Be wary of any arborist who believes topping your tree is a good option. In fact, it’s not even permitted in the city of Portland and many others.
Refrain from Over-trimming
While it is important to trim your tree regularly to maintain its overall appearance, you want to be careful not to over trim your tree. A general rule of thumb is to not remove more than 25% of a tree’s foliage per year. Removing any more than that could deprive the tree of essential nutrients since removing too much foliage inhibits the tree’s ability to convert the sun’s energy into food through photosynthesis.
Avoid Tree Trimming During the Fall
Certain times of year are better for tree trimming than others. While light tree trimming can be done virtually any time of year, you’ll want to wait until trees are dormant to schedule some of the heavier work.
In general, the best time to do your tree trimming and pruning is in the winter. It’s best to prune during the dormant season for several reasons: wounds to trees will heal faster, the tree will be less prone to disease or infestation, and it’s also easier to trim when there’s less foliage.
However, the time of year that you do your tree trimming work should really be tailored to the type of tree as well. While most trees should be trimmed or pruned in late winter when they are fully dormant, spring-blooming flowering trees should be trimmed immediately after they bloom.
Don’t Schedule an Appointment Before Doing Your Research
While light tree trimming is ok throughout the year, you’ll need to determine what type of work you want done before scheduling your appointment for tree service. Some cities, including Portland, require specific permits for pruning your tree. For instance, you’ll need a permit to prune native trees in an environmental overlay zone or within the Pleasant Valley Natural Resources overlay zone. For information on when such a permit is required, check here.
Some permitting for street tree pruning can be self-issued online. Permits are valid for 30 days and should be applied for 30 days in advance of your scheduled tree work. For more information on pruning permits, check here.
Now that we’ve gone over some of the don’ts, let’s focus on some of the dos.
Do hire a professional to perform your tree service work. Improper pruning or tree trimming can do serious damage to a tree. It’s best to be cautious and have a certified arborist perform the work instead.
Do be consistent with your tree maintenance. That includes trimming, shaping, and pruning as needed. You should also have your tree regularly inspected to ensure its structural integrity and to be confident that your tree is maintaining its health. A damaged, decaying tree can pose a serious threat, so preventative maintenance is best.
We service the entire Portland and Vancouver areas and would be more than happy to help you keep your tree looking its very best!